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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #363368

Research Project: Managing Energy and Carbon Fluxes to Optimize Agroecosystem Productivity and Resilience

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Title: The role of management and landscape on aggregate characteristics within the soil active layer

item WACHA, KENNETH - Orise Fellow
item Hatfield, Jerry
item PAPANICOLAOU, THANOS - University Of Tennessee
item DOLD, CHRISTIAN - Orise Fellow

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/21/2019
Publication Date: 9/1/2019
Citation: Wacha, K.M., Hatfield, J.L., Papanicolaou, T., Dold, C. 2019. The role of management and landscape on aggregate characteristics within the soil active layer. Book Chapter. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers. p. 203-219.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Within agricultural soils, the active layer is by far the most dynamic in response to management. Tillage fragments the structure of the soil, breaking down aggregate size fractions and weakening soil aggregates and reducing their resilience to mechanical and hydrological forces. This can also dampen biological activity through alterations of the soil microclimate. With precipitation patterns changing to more extreme rainfall events, agricultural soils will be expected to handle larger volumes of incoming rainfall in a shorter amount of time. Certain management practices may encourage infiltration and remove landscape effects by increasing residue cover or cover crops, which can absorb raindrop impact and disrupt flowpath connectivity. Quantifying the soil aggregate characteristics (size distribution and stability) within the active layer may provide key information into tillage disturbance and unveil landscape processes. In this chapter we discuss some methods of determining these characteristics.